Our interview with Star Wars: The Old Republic Creative Director James Ohlen at Syndcon sparked a bit of controversy on the topic of communication between factions. Today Principle Lead Combat Designer Georg "Observer" Zoeller took to the forums to clarify statements made by Ohlen and put some concerns to rest. Clarifying the statement, Zoeller posted that the option for both factions to speak in the same "General Chat" channels is what has been removed to help curb griefing, but if you're a Jedi standing next to a Sith, you can make casual conversation or state what part of their anatomy you intend to stick your lightsaber in.
Either way, local say chat seems to be a go, you just won't be exposed to the opposing faction shouting matches that would undoubtedly ensue if both were in the same "General Chat" channels.
As discussed at SDCC, the decision was made to separate the general chat channels by faction. However, this decision ONLY affects the planet-wide chat channels such as "General Chat." If you're standing next to another player (local chat), you can talk to them regardless of what faction you're part of.
The only thing we removed, as already mentioned at Comic-Con, was the ability to communicate with the opposing faction across the entirety of a planet to avoid the issues (like griefing, abuse, and other factors which led to a very unpleasant experience) which we saw way too often in testing.
We discussed the option of hiding the global chat and defaulting it off, but ultimately the ratio of negative incidents was too high to justify that. The reasoning here is simple: We really didnt want to create a game option that essentially says "[x] Give me an 80% chance of having an infuriating and annoying chat experience," and putting the onus on the user ("you can just /ignore them") is not our idea of a quality game experience.
Removing planet-wide cross-faction chat radically reduces the amount of reach a misbehaving player has before account action can be taken. Well likely add the ability to filter local cross faction chat as well.
Read our original interview with James Ohlen here.
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